Scan the musician credits on classic Jamaican popular music from the 1960s and 70s (i.e., ska, rocksteady, reggae & dub), and odds are in your favor that you will see the name of at least one of these two percussionists: Noel ‘Scully’ Simms & Uziah ‘Sticky’ Thompson.
Scully with Aston Thomas (left) & ‘Jah Jerry‘ Haynes (middle)
(photo courtesy of Howard Johnson documentary, Deep Roots Music)
(photo courtesy of Discogs)
Thompson, the elder of the two drummers by one year, left us in 2014 at the age of 78, I’m very sorry to report. Scully, who is still* with us, fortunately, lo and behold is yet another distinguished graduate of the Alpha Boys School. And although Thompson (whose birthname is alternately spelled Uzziah) has served as vocalist/DJ on a handful of songs over the years (including “Guns of Navarone” by The Skatalites), Simms – I’m only just starting to discover – has been both a sideman and solo artist to a much greater degree than I initially thought.
Simms also clearly has a bit of the trickster in him, as evidenced by the nearly endless number of variant names (a cataloger’s nightmare) formally noted on the Discogs.com website, including one amusing alter ego – Mr. Foundation – that was used on at least six Studio One singles for the UK market, including this chugging groove – “Timo Oh” – that instantly grabs the listener with the distinctive opening crack of the snare drum:
Mr. Foundation (i.e., Noel ‘Scully‘ Simms) 1968
Late rocksteady or early reggae? Stylistically, the song adroitly seems beholden to neither and both at the same time. 45Cat says this disc was released September, 1968 in the UK.
Reassuring to know I’m not the only one who finds this track compelling — in 2012, someone paid the equivalent of $344 (US) for this 2-minute recording, according to Popsike.
*Noel Bartholomew ‘Scully’ Simms would pass 15 months later on February 4, 2017 in Kingston, JA.
A Selected Discography:
20 Recordings That Include ‘Scully‘ & ‘Sticky‘